Competitive Eating / Drinking Deaths category

The BBC has an article about Natalie Beddau's death from choking on marshmallows at a charity competition held at the Beddau rugby club in Wales. The objective of the event was apparently to stuff the most marshmallows in a competitor's most instead of a traditional eating contest.
The Sun reports that a 37 year old woman passed away after choking during a marshmallow eating contest held Saturday at the Beddau Rugby Club in Wales, UK. The BBC also has an article about the fatality that does not mention the cause of death.
The Paqui One Chip Challenge has been withdrawn from stores after Harris Wolobah, a Worcester, MA high school student, passed away after eating the super spicy chip dusted with Carolina Reaper and Naga Viper peppers.
George Shea announced on twitter that "Hungry" Charles Hardy, also known as the Godfather of Competitive Eating, passed away. He was runner in the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest in 1998 and 1999 and also had top 5 finishes in 2000 and 2001. Hardy's loss to winner Steve Keiner by a quarter of a hot dog in the 1999 Nathan's contest was controversial since Keiner began eating before the official start signal had been given. reports that Bipin Kumar Paswan, a 25 year old from Gopalganj in Bihar, passed away on Thursday after being challenged by his friends to eat 150 momos. Paswan's father believes that the dumplings were poisoned and the eating challenge was set up to murder his son.
The Epoch Times reports that Hatsuyo "The Witch" Sugawara, a mainstay on the Japanese team for the "Battle of Big Eaters" international competition, passed away earlier this month due to colorectal cancer. She was 59.
Daily Star has an article listing five eating contest fatalities. has a post looking back at the October 2012 death of Edward Archbold, who passed away after choking in a cockroach eating contest held at Ben Siegel Reptiles in Deerfield Beach, FL.

RIP Pat “from Moonachie” Philbin

RIP Pat “from Moonachie” Philbin, whose passing was announced earlier today. He had suffered significant diabetes-related issues in recent years which required amputation of a foot. In addition to qualifying for Nathan’s Famous finals 5 times (2005-08, 2011), he was also a frequent guest on the Opie & Anthony radio show. His most famous moment on that program was probably the “baby bird” video from December 2006 in which he intentionally regurgitated egg nog into an intern’s mouth. has an article about Pat.

Comments (1) reports that 48 year old Hugo Ismael passed away after choking after eating a slice of French bread during a pozole eating contest held in Tinum, Mexico. Not only were there no EMT present at the contest site, no doctors at all were available at all in Tinum or the neighboring town of Uayama, requiring transport to Valladolid Hospital, where Ismael was declared dead. Pozole is a dish originally invented by the Aztecs which included flesh from warriors sacrificed in sun worship rituals. Spaniards replaced the human meat with pork. (original Spanish article).

Fatality at Peter’s Clam Bar eating contest

Newsday reports that Island Park Fire Department volunteer Michael Fischer passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest while attending yesterday’s clam eating contest at Peter’s Clam Bar in Island Park, NY. The article does not mention if he participated in the eating competition. This is not the first eating contest fatality associated with a New York first responder. In April 2017, Caitlin Nelson, daughter of a Port Authority policeman who perished in the 9/11 attacks, choked to death during a pancake eating contest at Sacred Heart University. update News12 reports that the incident happened while Fischer was helping set up for the contest.

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New Vision reports that Gad Sentenekora, a 55 year old from Kanungu, Uganda, passed away after competing in an eating contest held on Christmas. This is the second African eating contest fatality in less than a week. A 16 year old Kenyan died after choking in a bread eating contest held at his school on December 22. update The Ugandan Police say that the contest organizers are on the run; after arrest, they will be charged with "negligent acts likely to cause death". reports that Harrison Odour Ouma, a 16 year old student from Busia county, Kenya, passed away after choking during a bread eating competition held at Sikura Primary School.

Aaron Osthoff commits suicide after attempted murder

Some shocking and tragic news:

In the early morning of November 19, Aaron Osthoff forced his way into the home of Megan Breuer in Potosi (in southwest Wisconsin about 20 miles from Osthoff’s hometown of Dubuque, Iowa). She called 911 and after police arrived, Osthoff fired his gun multiple times. He severely injured Breuer and then took his own life with his firearm. She was hospitalized and was listed in stable condition as of November 22. Police said that Breuer and Osthoff knew each other, but no additional information about their relationship has been divulged.

Osthoff was a member of Major League Eating from 2011 to 2014. He competed in the 2011, 2013 and 2014 Nathan’s finals, finishing 6th in the men’s division in 2013. In 2012, Osthoff and his wife Heather both qualified for the Nathan’s July 4 championship, but they did not participate in that competition that year. In 2015, Osthoff retired from Major League Eating. He concluded his competitive eating career with a victory in the Dubuque Wing Bowl later that year.

In February 2020, Osthoff was featured in a New York Time article about his acquisition of a copy of the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment report that was autographed by former President Trump. The document was sold by Goldin Auctions for a price of $81,180.

On June 30, 2021, Osthoff’s 20 year old daughter Brielle took her own life. Her struggle with mental health was the subject of a September article by the Telegraph Herald. The Osthoffs have two other children: Brittany Murphrey and Brock Osthoff.

Osthoff’s social media offers minimal clues into what might have triggered the tragedy. His final facebook post on November 17 was an uncaptioned picture of himself in a room with no visible items other than high heeled shoes on a shelf. His twitter and instagram have not been updated for over a year.

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Tufts University lacrosse player passes away after hot dog eating contest

WCVB reports that Madie Nicpon, a defender on the Tufts University women’s lacrosse team from Suffern, NY, passed away after choking during a off campus hot dog held Sunday in Somerville, MA. The competition was part of “Play for Pink”, a breast cancer fundraiser. She is the second female student at a New England college to after choking in a charity eating contest in the past 5 years. Caitlin Nelson passed away in 2017 after choking in a pancake eating contest held at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT (WCVB news video | Lohud article)

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Interview with Anne Nelson, sister of Caitlin Nelson

Daily Mail has an article about Anne Nelson, whose father, Port Authority Police Officer James Nelson, died in the World Trace Center wreckage. Another shocking fatality would strike the family 16 years later.

Tragedy stalked Anne again in 2017 when her sister Caitlin (then a 20 year old college student) died in a freak accident when she choked in a charity pancake eating contest.

‘I think that loss is what really made me process my father’s death a little more. Even though I had gone to therapy before, the enormity of it all didn’t really hit me until that happened.’

Anne Nelson’s story is proof that people can live through not one but multiple traumas and still recover. Now 31, Anne tries to honor her sister and dad in everything she does.

She currently works as a special needs teacher at an elementary school, inspired by Caitlin’s studies in social work and her father’s life-long emphasis on education. ‘I take a little bit of both of them in what I’m doing and I try to carry them with me through that.’

Nathan’s Hot Dog qualifiers, restricted to NYC civil servants, were held on top of the original World Trade Center from 1998 to 2000. “Hungry” Charles Hardy won all 3 contests. Very little information about the competitions remains on the internet. Here is a screen capture from the 2002 documentary “Footlong”

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Today marked the 2 year anniversary of the announcement of the passing of Juliet Lee, an incident which remains as shocking and mysterious as it was in 2019. (2019 Eatfeats post | 2020 Eatfeats post) reports that Henry "Nacho" Laun, famed for his eating challenges on the A & E series "Wahlburgers" and also a competitor in the 2015 Wing Bowl, died from a cocaine overdose. reports that Henry "Nacho" Laun, co-star of "Wahlburgers" who was famous for his eating challenges on the A & E series and also a competitor in the 2015 Wing Bowl, passed away after experiencing a medical emergency two weeks ago. He was found unconscious in his car while parked at a Massachusetts gas station.
ABC30 reports that Marshall Hutchings is suing the Fresno Grizzlies for hosting a taco eating competition on August 13, 2019 that resulted in the death of his father, Dana Hutchings. The prize was a spot in the MLE taco eating contest that was to have taken place at the Taco Truck Throwdown scheduled for August 17.
A lawsuit seeking damages of 83 million yen (about $791,000) has been filed by the parents of a man who died after choking in a 2016 Japanese eating contest. He was requested to swallow an onigiri (rice ball) that he had stuffed in his mouth at the close of the contest, which resulted in the incident. (original article) reports Chinese mukbang star Sun Yi Xuan passed away from cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 19. He was known for livestreaming his high calorie meals on the Kuaishou app, on which he had over 500,000 followers.
Zambia Reports has an article about the death of Happy Kaishala, a 16 year old student at Chabanyama Combined School in Chingola, Zambia, who passed away after competing in a eating contest held at her school.
Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT has settled a lawsuit with the family of Caitlin Nelson who passed away after choking in a 2017 pancake eating contest held by her sorority. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

One year anniversary of Juliet Lee’s passing

Today marks the one year anniversary of Fox 5 DC’s article about the passing of Juliet Lee, which was announced on the MLE website the day before. This remains the only significant information about the shock death, with no additional salient media coverage, autopsies, or criminal investigations having been promulgated since that date. A statement about the passing was picked up by and several other outlets, which gave a date for the tragedy as September 9, 2019. Several social media comments contradicted that infomation, and gave her final date as August 16, 2019.

Searching the Montgomery County (MD) police database for mid-August 2019 events in Germantown, MD (Juliet’s hometown) brings up the following incident on which appears to correspond to Juliet Lee’s passing. The record is of minimal interest until the penultimate field, which is “SUDDENDEATHUNDETERMIND”. [I have redacted the address field even though it has only a street name and lacks a house number]

Direct linking to the entry is not allowed; if you want to view it for yourself, the easiest way is probably to go the police database website and search for Crime Report #190039103. This brings up the question: if the incident was labeled a crime, what was the result of the criminal investigation? Other unanswered questions include:

  • If the August 16 date is accurate, why did 24 days elapse between the tragedy and any announcement of it?
  • Who contacted Major League Eating about the fatality and when was that information provided?
  • Was Juliet Lee transported to a hospital and what medical personnel attended her?
  • Other than the Fox 5 article, why was there minimal media coverage of the incident? As far as I know. the Washington Post (Motto: “Democracy Dies in Darkness”) and its associated social media outlets have made absolutely no mention of Juliet Lee’s passing. (Washington Post search link)
  • Why was the record in the Montgomery County police database categorized as “WORKING CODE” ?
  • Why was Juliet Lee’s husband (or ex-husband), Joe Callow, not mentioned in the statement about her death; Juliet’s daughters are the only relatives mentioned.
  • Juliet Lee’s final video for Major League Eating was uploaded on August 22, six days after August 16. When was that video filmed and who recorded and uploaded it?
  • Why was there was no posting about Juliet Lee’s passing on MLE social media until the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest in July? A post at the bottom of was the sole mention by the organization.

2019 EatFeats post about the fatality. An anonymous comment appears to have some inside information about the incident.

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